Research suggests that we make around 35,000 decisions every day, ranging from the mundane (what shoes to wear) through to potentially life-altering situations.
Successful project management relies upon efficient and agile-structured decisions in a timely fashion. Within project management, this would be the “Decision Making” area benchmark. This area addresses the ability to intake, categorize, and affect decisions in a risk-managed way to ensure that the initiative’s execution will not be delayed by decision-making processes. There is a significant variance in the way decisions are made in each of the internal stakeholder operating units.
Sometimes taking a methodical approach to decision making can be in direct conflict with the decision-making practices of a project life cycle.
Sometimes taking a methodical approach to decision making can be in direct conflict with the decision-making practices of a project life cycle, and with how other operating units make decisions. The decision-making process represents a significant vulnerability to the initiative, and might affect the amount of time which may be needed to execute decisions.
Red Flags in Decision Making Process
- Decision-making process is not clear within operations.
- Decisions are made without the benefit of impact analysis.
- No formalized process to gather business team and technical team input regarding the impact to workload and schedules.
- Difficulty in reaching consensus on practice changes, which leads to last minute system changes.
- Ambiguity in decisions can trigger uncertainty regarding why and how decisions are made.
- Decision making pertaining to workload priorities, which might require a shift during the project have a clear chain of authority.
Recommendations For Better Decision Making
- Teams which historically worked in an autonomous model for decision making regarding operations and technology need to be streamlined to a consensus model. The Project team may require training on the decision-making processes used within the context of consensus project delivery.
- Use impact and options analysis and a collaborative process to make decisions regarding changes.
- It is recommended that one creates a communication plan when key IT decisions are made, providing some context around the decision and ensuring that all staff receives the same intended message regarding the decision.
- Throughout the project, recognize the need to scale back on special requests and work outside of the required workload. This will free up time to make timely decisions and course corrections on the Project. Leadership will determine which projects and work take priority.
Projects encounter different experiences and biases, time constraints and pressures on various team members. With collaborative projects, we cannot avoid making decisions. Effective project management must rely on individuals and teams making informed decisions on a regular basis via a streamlined consensus model, or team members may suffer from decision fatigue!